New ways to increase Europe’s sheep… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Sheep generation in Europe is on the drop – indicating the EU is now importing

Sheep generation in Europe is on the drop – indicating the EU is now importing far more sheep meat than ever. That’s why an EU-funded project is bringing Europe’s top sheep making nations jointly to create new alternatives and greatest methods. As a result, farmers across Europe are now seeing an maximize in the two sheep generation and profitability that will also advantage buyers.


© Paul Steven #316843808, 2020

Sheep meat and milk generation is an crucial industry in Europe, in particular in nations like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the Uk. In truth, with eighty five million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, moreover an added 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is even bigger than Australia and New Zealand’s mixed.

But even with this huge number of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-adequate in sheep meat. As a result, the EU is the world’s second major importer of sheep meat.

Powering this gap in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep industry. Since 2000, the number of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and in the course of the previous 10 many years sheep productivity has decreased by up to 40 % (based on the place and the farming system). 

“Different factors can make clear this drop, but the main a person is reduced sheep productivity, or the number of lambs reared for each ewe joined on the farm,” claims Jean-Marc Gautier, Chief of Company at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Nevertheless, irrespective of this damaging trend, Gautier sees important chances for improving upon sheep productivity. “By improving upon reproduction results and lamb survivability, we can improve farm profitability and maximize the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he claims.

Encouraging sheep farmers leverage these chances is the EU-funded SheepNet project, a community of the EU’s top sheep making nations and Turkey. “Working with researchers and shareholders, the project produced and shared alternatives for growing generation with out acquiring to export surplus sheep meat,” adds Gautier.

Building sheep generation far more interesting

The project’s main aim was to realize an maximize in ewe productivity of .1 lambs reared for each ewe joined. This would be the equal of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, as a result resulting in a internet self-sufficiency of 92 %. Additionally, farmers would acquire an roughly EUR 10 maximize for just about every added .1 lamb marketed for each ewe joined.

“We are self-assured that these alterations will make sheep generation far more interesting for the two the recent and subsequent generations of producers,” explains Gautier.

To realize this, the project labored immediately with farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders. Alongside one another, they determined alternatives and greatest methods for improving upon ewe productivity and flock profitability.

“These alternatives targeted on almost everything from nutrition management in the course of late being pregnant to colostrum management, triggers of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe human body issue rating, and sheep shed management,” claims Gautier. “We also developed a lambing inventory and strategy for much better ram management.” 

In complete, the project made forty two alternatives, 88 tips and tips, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are accessible by way of the SheepNet local community platform in 6 languages. Every includes in depth info on anticipated costs and advantages, stipulations, references, and responses from actual farmers.

Possessing a massive effect

With these alternatives in hand, researchers subsequent turned in direction of dissemination. “SheepNet is all about apply-pushed innovation and sensible knowledge sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of modern technologies and methods for improving upon sheep productivity.”

Dissemination things to do provided the organisation of 5 workshops for each spouse place (35 in complete), moreover 5 transnational workshops and a closing summary seminar. Other things to do provided the generation of 19 push releases, 143 article content, a hundred and twenty video clips, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of several social media platforms.

In accordance to Gautier, SheepNet’s alternatives are now acquiring a massive effect. “We’ve acquired important responses from farmers telling us how they are utilizing our community and alternatives to improve flock productivity, labour efficiency, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Centered on the project’s results, researchers released EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 project targeted on sheep health and fitness and nutrition. They are currently functioning on a new precision livestock farming initiative.